If you are a cat owner who enjoys holidaying in the sun, and being pampered and fed in a luxurious hotel, but feel a tinge of guilt at leaving your favourite feline behind, then the PussyCat Hotel could be the answer for you.
The PussyCat Hotel, located just east of Glen Stewart on the South Branch Road, is owned and operated by Judy Amo and Ian Leverett. The two have turned a cattle barn into a palatial cat resort that provides luxurious accommodations for our furry friends.
The Hotel, however, doesn’t answer just the needs of those heading off on vacation. Cat owners who travel for business and those who have to be away from home or unable (temporarily) to care for their cat(s) due to health reasons are frequent customers.
Judy and Ian have filled the hotel’s central catwalk with regular home furnishings…a dining room set, couches and chairs, and a television that on most days features all the things a cat is interested in.
“I like to leave it on through the day so they can watch it,” says Judy, who often heads to the hotel to spend the evening watching television with the cats while Ian catches a sports program back at the house.
Off the catwalk are the cat suites, that range from the ‘royal suites’ (up to four cats), to ‘economy’ (one cat). The hotel has 22 rooms. All were filled during the 2010 Christmas holiday, the first holiday the PussyCat Hotel was in operation.
When Ian and Judy first met 20 plus years ago, they owned and bred Persian and Himalayan Cats.
After cleaning homes, Judy took a dog grooming course and worked in that business for a number of years.
Ian has tried his hand at a government position and running a craft business. He built a busy disc jockey business in the Ottawa area, ‘700 dances a year” then a successful snow ploughing operation, “which was worse.”
The couple eventually settled in the Kemptville area where they launched a pet sitting business which developed into their boarding dogs in their own home.
“We went to our first home where there was a dog chained outdoors,” says Ian. “It was 40 below, so we decided to take the dog home, and that’s how it started. We eventually had 500 clients.”
Unfortunately, caring for upwards of 20 dogs in their home at any one time became a health/safety issue for Judy, when she had a knee replacement.
They sold the business and moved to their new home on the South Branch Road in the spring of 2010, with the intent to build a boarding kennel for dogs. However, a clause in the sale of their Kemptville business and municipal regulations led them down a slightly different path…a return to their first love, cats, and the resulting PussyCat Hotel.
“We love it here,” says Judy of the six acre farm. “It’s so quiet and the neighbours are so friendly. When we opened (November 2010) we had an open house and all the neighbours came.”
In designing the PussyCat Motel, Ian says, “we figured cats don’t belong in cages just like dogs, so we designed the rooms. Most places just have cages and the animals are confined to the cages for weeks on end.”
“We spent a lot of money on this. It was a horse and cow stable.”
Ian’s vision included pillars which run the length of the central hallway. Each of the suites opens off the grande hallway with screen doors.
The top room is the (up to four cat) ‘king suite’ which measures a little more than eight by seven feet. Located on the west side of the Hotel, it offers maximum afternoon sunshine which shines onto window perches. There are also climbing ramps, poles and extra large cat trees.
The (up to three cat) ‘queen suites’ catch the morning sun Slightly smaller than the ‘kings’, they too feature ramps and large cat trees. The 40 square foot ‘royal suite’ houses up to two cats as does the 36 square foot ‘presidential’. The 30 square foot ‘economy condo’ has no window and is designed for one cat.
Litter boxes and feeding stations are located in each room.
Prices are per room (not per cat) and range from $30 per day for the ‘king’ down to $14 per day for ‘economy’.
During their stay, the feline guests can roam freely throughout the hotel. Some cats are quite comfortable around the other guests, while others take a couple of days to warm up to the idea. A few choose to remain in their rooms.
The cats are confined to their rooms at night. “Then we know they are safe,” says Judy. “During the day they have their freedom. They don’t get bored. There is always something for them to do. I come in and play with them or watch TV.”
Last Wednesday, there were nine guests and two expected to arrive on Thursday. Two were catnapping on their window ledges, while Smokey and Sheeba (ragdolls) were hiding, like cats do, under the couch. Then there was the very curious Hawkeye who joined Ian and Judy for the interview on the dining table.
Smokey and Sheeba were on an indefinite stay while their owner recuperates from a medical issue. “The lady who owns them phones every day. She misses them,” says Judy.
The beautiful decor, featuring pillars and chandeliers and laminate (wood) flooring that runs down the centre of the PussyCat Hotel are only surpassed by the pristine cleanliness of the entire operation.
With the exception of a few wisps of cat hair (an unavoidable part of the business), the hotel is immaculate.
First time visitors can expect to be ‘wowed’ with what they see.
Judy cleans every day. She says she seldom has problems with the cats and all use their litter boxes.
Judy has also returned to dog grooming which she does in a specially adapted room in the couple’s home well away from the PussyCat.
Ian’s philosophy is, ‘if you offer a service a lot of people need and a lot of people like, then you are going to be successful.”
With reservations now being made for the upcoming Christmas season and winter travel time, Ian and Judy are hoping that indeed the PussyCat Hotel is a service folks and their felines need. It is certainly one that any fuzzy, fur ball can’t help but like. After all, The PussyCat Hotel is billed as ‘Canada’s largest and most luxurious cat hotel’ and it’s located right here in South Dundas.
For more information and pictures or for reservations at the ‘purr’fect kitty getaway contact the PussyCat Hotel at www.thepussycathotel.com or call Ian and Judy at 613-652-9082.